Joint-use libraries, especially partnerships between public libraries and colleges, are rare but not unheard of. In an era of belt-tightening, pooling resources with a partner that shares many of your institution’s goals can be a tempting proposition for schools and cities alike. It’s complex, but as seen at the Tidewater Community College/City of Virginia Beach Joint-Use Library, opened in 2013, it can also be extremely rewarding.
Before Boston saw its first snowstorm of what would prove to be a very long winter, an enthusiastic group of architects, designers, vendors, and librarians convened at Boston Public Library’s (BPL) Central Library in Copley Square for LJ’s December 2014 Design Institute (DI). The first question of the event, posed by Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners library building consultant Lauren Stara, set the stage: “The shift to digital and changing user expectations means that even buildings only ten or 20 years old may already be out-of-date…. How do we build for an ever-changing environment?”
The Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) , a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) honored the winners of the 2014 Library Interior Design Awards at ALA’s annual conference held in Las Vegas in June. Over 200 entries were reviewed, and many of this year’s 19 winners have a vibrant and functional design that takes into consideration that libraries are more than ever a gathering space for their community.
Library 21c, the Pikes Peak Library District’s (PPLD) latest addition, is a centralized education and experimentation hub. The new two-story Colorado Springs library is the biggest building in the district, the second-largest in Colorado, supporting about 620,000 residents. Last year, the district had 3.6 million visitors. What makes this new library unique is the wide variety of opportunities under the same roof.
Two historical barns are transformed into modern libraries. One barn sits in Cumbria, England, a county once host to William Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter, and Arthur Ransome. Surrounded by the mountainous landscape of the UK’s largest national park, the traditional Cumbrian stone barn was constructed in Ambleside in 1929 by Charlotte Mason College.
To walk into the St. Helena Public Library, SC, is to become immersed in contradiction. On the one hand, it’s modern—a 21st-century library guided by a Maker space philosophy, complete with 3-D printers, an animator, recording studio, littleBits and Makey Makey kits, and more state-of-the-art technology. Seamlessly coexisting with this sleek newness is a down-home Southern warmth and natural, earthy simplicity, with architectural details that embrace links to a unique culture with connections to West Africa.
In a time when the mission of libraries is rapidly evolving, how can we craft buildings that not only endure but thrive when meeting new challenges? This question underlined the learning at LJ’s Design Institute (DI) held May 16 in Salt Lake City. Presenters and peers asked attendees to redefine how they thought about sustainability, exploring the idea in terms of conserving energy and being environmentally responsible and looking at the sustainability of a building holistically—from how comfortable patrons and employees are to how the space can change to support new ventures, some of which designers and librarians might not have imagined yet.